Remember the saying, "It's summertime and the livin' is easy"? What happened to that? Somewhere along the line, I came to believe that when official "vacation" began, it meant that all of life went smoothly. Where do I sign up for that vacation? And where did I get that ridiculous idea?
I'm laughing at my so-hard-to-satisfy self because when I look out the window, it's absolutely gorgeous. It's so green! The sun is shining! The clouds are amazing! My petunias are not only fragrant, they are flourishing! Okay, so the deer ate my tomatoes—oh well. Yes, they also ate my roses and my pansies and...still, it's SUMMER! And though the livin' ain't easy—life does go on after all—if I but have the eyes to see it, it's splendid.
Things happen on vacations. They certainly happen on ours. In past years, we've had four flat tires (in one day), emergency room visits, capsized canoes, bee stings, car crashes, the onset of hypothermia, a canoe flying off the car, near death experiences (mine), relational tension, and emotional upheaval.
Just your normal stuff.
So, our official vacation begins next week, and I feel the temptation to brace myself not only for disappointment but potential crises in faith.
Let me just take a stand in advance and say "no." No to that. No to allowing my faith in God, my love for my family, yield to the wayward happenstances of life. God is good. I love my family. My job today—and next week—is simply to stay in the Truth. (Yeah, I know, easier said than done. But still...that's why we have the Holy Spirit to help us.)
Honestly, my only job today and next week and, well, forever is to follow him. Follow Jesus. Actually, God's word to me this year is "follow." And that is all I want to do. Follow him. Faithfully. Honestly. Not get ahead of him or side-tracked or too far behind. I'd like to follow closely—catching his wind and having that pave and ease my way.
Two days after returning from our vacation, I'm running in my first 5K. I've been doing the couch potato to 5K thing this summer. God invited me to do it, and I said yes. We (meaning me and him) began week 9 today (the last week). I haven't run in 30 years, so it's kind of amazing. Often, I sense him running right next to me and sometimes pushing me up hills. It's fabulous timing. The parallels are not lost on me. See, Jesus is continually inviting me and all of us to follow him and to do things that seem beyond ourselves.
Becoming Myself: Embracing God's Dream of You comes out in a couple of weeks. Writing it, living it, and all that has gone into it has required more than I could have imagined back when I said "yes" to God's invitation to do it. And God is faithful. He has given and continues to give me all I need. Rain or shine. Capsized or floating. And all I need, all we need, is to stay tucked deeply into his heart. Following.
"Follow me," he says. "Yes, God," we respond.